Dec 2016 15

Trauma counseling: meet our peer counselor Vinancio

Posted in News

Not so long ago, the people of northern Uganda faced abductions, rape, killings and other abuses by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Now, although the guns are silent, communities still grapple with intruding and painful nightmares and flashbacks. To many, the war still goes on in their minds and continues to impair their daily lives. They often have feelings of guilt, which bring about alcohol abuse and domestic violence.

In Lubutoro, a small, remote village where we work, James, a father of three started abusing alcohol after losing his wife who was killed by the LRA rebels during the war. Instead of getting back on his feet, he sold almost everything he had to buy alcohol. He neglected his children, picked fights, and attempted suicide.

This past year GRG started a program to train and work in-depth with community counselors to help people like James, his family, and the community. Vinancio Ochola became a counselor in James’ village and felt bad for his three children who were left alone without proper parental care. He then decided to talk to James hoping that he would quit his abuse habits not only for his own good but for his children as well. Vinancio’s persistence in helping him with several visits finally got him to sober up and to listen to him. Vinancio told James, “it is your own children you are punishing when drinking like this,” and these words struck him. After 18 months of excessive drinking, the man quit completely, and has become a respected religious man.

“I feel very proud and happy that I fulfil the work of a peer counselor. Thanks to GRG’s counseling training, I was able to help not only a father but his three children to have a better life,” said Vinancio.

Our peer counseling program has only one major problem – it’s too popular! We’ve already helped over 700 people go through counseling, but an overwhelming number of clients – mainly former child soldiers – are coming forward for help now. This can overburden peer counselors and lead to exhaustion and burnout. To lessen this burden, GRG would like to provide the counselors with supervision or individual counseling. Second, we would like to train more counselors like Vinancio to reach the many former child soldiers and war victims. We need your help to make it happen.

Would you be willing to make a special year-end donation to support our trauma counselors like Vinancio? For $100 you can provide training to a counselor, or for $35 you can provide a counseling session for a troubled client.  With this support, you will also be helping an average of five clients in overcoming trauma. GRG’s peer counseling program has reached further than any NGO in northern Uganda because it is done by Ugandans for Ugandans. Help us to continue to train Northern Uganda to support itself, peers for peers.

We simply can’t do it without you. Thank you for your continued support and friendship.  Please click here to make your donation.

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season with loved ones. We have made a lot of progress this year – learn more here about our new counseling, radio programs, and more. Best,


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